With Alzheimer's, hope for the best, plan for the worstBy Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/alzheimers-disease-blog/MY01270
- With Mayo Clinic health education outreach coordinator
Angela Lunderead biographyclose window
Angela LundeAngela LundeAngela Lunde is a dementia education specialist in the education core of Mayo Clinic's Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at the Abigail Van Buren Alzheimer's Disease Research Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
The transfer of information about dementias, as well as understanding the need for participation in clinical trials, is an essential component of the education core.
Angela is a member of the Alzheimer's Association board of directors and co-chair of the annual Minnesota Dementia Conference. She is a member of the Dementia Behavior Assessment and Response Team (D-BART), a multidisciplinary outreach service assisting professional and family caregivers in understanding and managing difficult behaviors often present in dementia. She facilitates several support groups, including Memory Club, an early-stage education and support series, and more recently, helped to develop and now deliver Healthy Action to Benefit Independence and Thinking (HABIT), a 10-day cognitive rehab and wellness program for people with mild cognitive impairment.
Angela takes a personal interest in understanding the complex changes that take place within relationships and among families when dementia is present. She is particularly interested in providing innovative and accessible ways for people with dementia and their families to receive information and participate in valuable programs that promote well-being.
"Amid a devastating disease, there are tools, therapies, programs and ways to cope, and it is vital that families are connected to these resources," she says.
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With Alzheimer's, hope for the best, plan for the worst
By Angela Lunde
Last month, H.S. posted a comment about his father's fear of Alzheimer's, even refusal to use the word, and his concern that his parents are both ignoring a diagnosis.
If using the 'A' word creates an obstacle with your parents, then changing your language may help to open up lines of communication. If you say, "Dad can we talk about your memory loss?" you may get less resistance than saying, "The doctor said you have Alzheimer's disease."
Overall, the goal is not to agree on what to call 'it' but to be pro-active in receiving treatment and planning for the future. That being said, the following are important discussion topics to have with your parents and/or other family members. Keep in mind that you don't need to tackle them all in one conversation.
- Medications are available that can help to maintain a better quality of life. Discuss these options with your doctor.
- Review and discuss legal documents and make sure healthcare wishes and assets are managed the way you like. We should all do this from time to time anyway, so it isn't necessary to dwell upon the diagnosis as the reason for the conversation. In addition, consider meeting with an elder-law attorney.
- Know the resources in your area for help with services, support groups, online resources and other local programs for families.
- Begin to explore options for long-term care and memory care.
A common mantra we use in our support groups is "hope for the best, but plan for the worst." One of the most tragic situations I see is when families wait too long to create a plan and consequently find themselves in some sort of catastrophic situation and feeling powerless. To the best of your ability and within the limitations of your situation, H.S., please intervene.blog index